Senator Manny Pacquiao on Sunday defended his stance on the re-imposition of death penalty anew, saying that while the Bible preaches not to kill, God has established governments with powers to "impose punishment on wrongdoers."
Pacquiao made the remark after President Rodrigo Duterte urged Congress during his 5th State of the Nation Address to work on the revival of death penalty for drug-related crimes, even as the country is currently faced with the threat of COVID-19.
In a Dobol B sa News TV interview, Pacquiao, who is a Born Again Christian and who admits to be reading the Bible every day, was asked how he could reconcile his beliefs and his support for the death penalty bills.
He was asked, in particular, about one of the 10 Commandments of God in the Book of Exodus: "Thou shall not kill."
"Tama yung sinasabi sa Bible na 'Thou shall not kill,' kung nagkasala ka sa akin pero wala akong karapatan na patayin kita, at kung nagkasala ako sayo, wala kang karapatan na patayin ako... pero may batas, may authority na pwede kitang isumbong kung ano ang magiging parusa mo sa crime na ginawa mo," Pacquiao said.
"The governing authority, binibigyan ng power to impose punishment to those wrongdoers. So maliwanag yan sa Bible. At hindi tayo, wala tayong karapatan para pumatay ng kapwa na nagkasala, pero there's authority, lahat tayo bound to authority. We must submit and obey the authority, which is the government established by God and instituted by God," he added.
Pacquiao said God established governments in order to discipline the people.
"Mahalaga ang buhay. Kaya in-establish ng Panginoon yung government authority, yung batas, kaya tayo may government para disiplinahin ang taong matigas ang ulo, ang taong gumagawa ng kasalanan," he said.
He added that even as the country is in the middle of a health crisis, drug personalities are still out to continue with their illegal activities.
"Itong sinusulong natin, death penalty [na] ito para sa manufacturers ng droga, yung mga dealer ng droga, hindi yung mga users ng droga," Pacquiao said.
"Kawawa yung mga mahihirap na tayo, sila ang naaapektuhan, yung mga users sila ang namamatay. Dapat ang unang patayin ay yung manufacturers ng droga kahit na nasa gitna ng pandemya ay sinasamantala nila ang pagkakataon na dapat tayo ay magtulungan lalo na ang mga nagugutom ngayon," he added.
Currently, there are 10 pending death penalty bills in the upper chamber, which were all referred to the Senate Committee on Justice, chaired by Senator Richard Gordon.
Gordon, however, maintained his stance against the re-imposition of death penalty, pointing out that the COVID-19 response should be the priority of the government. —LBG, GMA News